Posted by Jeffro on August 14, 2002 at 16:32:17:
Flew with AeroMexico and had a wonderful flight down to Cancun via 1hr layover in Mexico City. Pre-Arranged a pick-up shuttle from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen. Forget what the name of the service was, but they were very helpful and courteous. Scored a round of Coronas from this one guy in the parking lot just outside the terminal for everybody to enjoy for our ride south to PDC.
Stayed at Continental Plaza Playacar for the night and experienced a little bit of what the place had to offer. Was overjoyed to find out that the hotel was right next to the ferry dock. I mean right next to it. It was wonderful knowing that we didn’t have to lug our entire luggage around from a taxi or anything like that to get it to the dock. Haven’t been there before, so really didn’t have an idea of where to go to have some good grub. We ended up strolling around and found the famous 5th street walkway. Where all the bars, restaurants and shops are. Very busy and a lot of fun just to walk around and people watch. After spending a pretty penny there, (Fed 7 people with food and drinks came to $181) walked back to the hotel to pass out for our morning ferry ride over to Cozumel.
Ferry ride was cool. Getting the entire luggage onto and checked in was eventful. Once on the ferry, we got a nice display of Mother Nature dumping her rain on us for a bit. It was gone and sunny by the time we got to Cozumel. Being from SoCal the humidity here was insane. I was sweating like a madman just to walk to a taxi and get a ride to the rental car agency.
Once the cars were rented it was time to get to where we were staying. We stopped at the grocery store on the main drag just north of town to get our liquids for the evening. I guess we just made it before they were going to close for their siesta, because it took some coaxing to get our beers boxed up. Once we had the goods it was time to head to our new home for the week. We stayed at Villa Rosmar, which is the very last house on the beach, all the way north on the island. Spectacular views were there to greet us and it was just beautiful.
We had hired cooks for the week, which was awesome to be waited on like that. The cook, Santiago was a cool guy for the first couple of days he was with us. Then on the most important night of my new wife’s and I, he messed up. I did notice that he seemed a little high on something. His eyes were bloodshot like no other and he didn’t seem too steady on his feet. The wedding coordinator that we had sucked. We discussed what kind of plates we wanted and silverware and stuff like that, but when it came time to deliver she brought stuff that wasn’t even discussed. Like we were given the choices of having plates with gold bands, silver bands, or just plain white. The woman chose to have the gold, and when she arrived she had the silver. To top that off, they didn’t all match. Neither did the silverware. Everything was mixed up. Quite disappointing. Then she shows up with the Tiki lamps and flowers and stuff, and just sets them down. She doesn’t ask where to put them or anything like that. Just has her little helper with her to throw them into the bushes. We asked her to help out and you know what she said? “I don’t set things up. I just bring the materials.” Wow, is all we could think. “Then why the hell did we pay you as a wedding coordinator?” the Mother in law asks. Unfortunately I wasn’t present at the time, but I guess she gave a dumb look on her face and walked off and left.
We were treated with the best sunset that the Caribbean had to offer throughout our stay down there and that was just awesome. We start our celebration with toasts and lots of drinking before dinner was served. We ate and had some more drinks, and someone notices that our champagne classes are gone. Santiago and his assistant took them in to be cleaned while we were up dancing and having a good time. Come to find out that one of our wedding glasses for the wife and I got broken and one of the champagne classes for our other family member’s were broken as well. As you could imagine this pissed off the bride like no other. So that was just the beginning. We got short on champagne and could only find 2 out of the 3 bottles, and a half a bottle of Cabernet went missing. We scoured through the whole place and couldn’t find them. Asked Santiago where they were and he didn’t know. So the Father-in-law looks in the trashcan, and who law!!! There they were. A full unopened bottle of nice champagne and a half a bottle of cab sitting in a trashcan. This was outrageous. So we told them to get the hell out and just leave. Needless to say, we talked with the property manager and had them get us a new cook that wouldn’t try to steal from us. That was very disappointing and a bummer to happen on such an awesome evening.
We dove with Sea Ray Divers and enjoyed every time out with Chellie and Antonio. Chellie made it over to our place on Sunday night around 9ish to get an idea of what kind of divers we were and where we’d like to go. We had 3 certifieds with us and 3 non-certifieds, and one grandmother that was along for the boat ride. Their DM, Artoro was very knowledgeable and knew the reefs very well. These guys on the boat worked very hard and always wanted to set the gear up for you. Sometimes I’d let them just to watch these guys work. I swear it was like watching a pit crew changing tires. Off came your BC and then the other guy was right there to take the empty tank away and put the full tank into position for attaching the BC. All within a matter of seconds the job was done.
We were able to get the non-certs certified while we were down there. After the first 2 days of diving they all had 4 dives under their belts and we told them that they only needed one more dive and to learn some knowledge and they could get certified. They all agreed and started studying for their exam. The next 2 days were spent doing their skills and things like that. Eventually they all made it through that and finished their tests with no problems. Finally, all the family is now certified and won’t have to go through the resort course review skills again!
Now for the good stuff. I believe all the pertinent information in included. If I missed something…MY BAD. I’ll try better next time.
08-05-02 1st Dive:
La Francensa @ Palancar
Water Temp a cool 84 F
Dive Time 46min
Max Depth = 65
Avg = 46
On first dive of the day and about 10 minutes in, I got to see the awesome Splendid Toadfish of Cozumel. I was so stoked. Unfortunately I was so stoked to be there diving, that I forgot my cheap disposable underwater camera on board. The current was strong on this day so I had to kick like a madman to catch a couple extra seconds of this beautiful fish just chill'n underneath a piece of coral at the bottom. The colors on the reefs are just splendid compared to what I get here in sunny SoCal. Saw plenty of Princess Parrotfish, Triggers, Damsels, Barracudas, White-Eye Goabies, and beautiful Sea Anemones. The coral formations are sweet as well. The huge Blue Coned and Fire Corals, huge Brown Coned Corals, and this hard coral that was like huge bowls sitting on the ocean floor. I mean some of these seemed to be about 6 feet or so in circumference. Things like empty conch shells, some small butterflies, damsels, and puffers could be seen in them. This was my first experience with drift diving and I loved it. It was everything that I thought it would be.
08-05-02 2nd Dive:
Paso Del Cedral @ Palancar
Surface Interval = 1:19
Dive Time = 52min
Max Depth = 56
Avg = 38
Saw my very first Nurse Shark. It was about 5-6ft long. Saw some huge Sea Slugs. We have them here, but not nearly as big as these monsters. A crew of lobsters chill'n under some coral. These looked like lobsters on steroids they were so big. Got to see some Brittle Starfish inside some Tube coral, Squirrelfish, and plenty of cool little Puffers.
08-06-02 1st Dive:
Santa Rosa Wall @ Palancar
Water Temp 85F
Dive Time = 44min
Max Depth = 86
Avg = 49
Saw my 2nd Nurse Shark. This one much bigger! 6-7ft it looked like. A lot of Queen Angels, Sea Slugs, HUGE Black Groupers check'n us out. Some came so close you could touch'm. Watching their eyes watching us was very cool. The very colorful Princess Parrots, Huge Coned Coral and Blue Fire Coral. Awesome Dive!
08-06-02 2nd Dive:
Da Lela @ Palancar
Surface Interval = 1:27
Dive Time = 51min
Max Depth = 65
Avg = 42
Got to come within an arms reach of bitch'n nurse shark chill'n under some coral on the sandy ocean floor. It's beady awesome blue eyes starring me down, piercing through my mask as I was checking it out. It got a little nervous with me that close and started to swim deeper inside this coral cave structure. It circled around a bit and started to swim in my direction, so I politely moved aside so it didn't feel threatened in any matter. It was awesome to watch this nurse swim so gracefully into the turquoise blue waters as it found a new place to rest and hang out. Saw my First Sea Turtle of the trip! A little Bat Ray stealthily sitting on the sandy bottom. Plenty of Reef Butterflies, Bluestriped Grunts in huge numbers hanging out in between coral to get out of the strong current. And beautiful Threespot Damsel Juvys. The spots on these guys were almost illuminescent with the sunlight piercing through the water.
08-07-02 was deemed a wedding day so didn't get to dive ;o( woman wouldn't have liked that very much. Thankfully we were staying at Villa Rosmar which is the last house on the beach all the north of the island. With all those damn cruise ships in port, I'm glad I didn't have to go into too much. I hate those cruise ships. What a poison they are to the island.
08-08-02 1st Dive:
Palancar Caves @ you guessed it...Palancar
Dive Time = 38min
Max Depth = 110
Avg = 54
This dive was simply AWESOME! Swimming through the caves with overhanging Tube and Fire Corals everywhere, was the bomb baby...The colors are indescribable. While swimming through some of these caves, we popped out on this awesome wall. Swam around admire this work of art, and swam for a bit. I looked at my computer and it was reading 110 ft. Quite surprised to this, I quickly showed the father in law, and he couldn’t believe we were that deep. He was having a little problem with clearing and didn’t think that he’d ever get that deep. We swam around for a few more minutes then started to swim upward along the coral wall to shallower depths. It is definitely a brain over load. Saw this HUGE Princess Parrot eating it's way on the hard coral structures and a little cleaner fish picking up the scraps. Swam around with this Sea Turtle for a bit at around 80ft. It didn't seem to care that we were around so that was cool. Witnessed this huge Hermit Crab making it's way along the sea floor. The conch shell it was in looked like it was about the size of a football. Very impressive home. Some French Angels and Stoplight Parrots.
08-08-02 2nd Dive:
Surface Interval = 1:13
Dive Time = 50min
Max Depth = 78
Avg = 41
Huge 15yr oldish Green Turtle. It looked so graceful flying through the water. Scrawled Cowfish eyeball'n me as I floated by, Blue Hamlets swimming in and out of the corals check'n me out and guarding their little piece of home, Blue Chromis, and Rock Hind Coneys.
08-09-02 1st Dive:
Dive Time = 46min
Max Depth = 98
Avg = 56
Clarity down a bit due to storms. Maybe 50ish now.
Sea Turtle, a nice sized Nurse Shark, huge Trunkfish, Lobsters, Triggers, Damsels, and the awesome Spotted Eagle Ray. That was one of the highlights of the whole trip. Watching this guy or gal glide through the water ever so gracefully. There was a photographer Reese, Antonio’s brother along with us on this dive and he was able to get so close that he went to pet it on the underside of it's left wing. I saw him flinch back and the Spotted Eagle Ray quickly banked right and swam away into the beautiful blue waters. It turns out that when we surfaced that when I saw Reese flinch, it was actually because the Ray ZAPPED his ass. That right, these Spotted Eagle Rays actually are able to produce an electrically charge and electrocute you! That was fantastic information, because I never realized that it had that as a defense mechanism. While floating around I saw this Barracuda enjoy a meal of this poor fish that wondered too close and got sucked up and devoured right below me. Very cool...
08-09-02 2nd Dive:
Surface Interval = 1:40
Max Depth = 80
Avg = 43
Dive Time = 56min
Big Ass Black Grouper! This fish must've been almost 80lbs. Check'n us all out as we floated by. Swam with us for about 3 minutes before it started swimming in another direction. Saw Lobsters, a Bat Ray, Turtle, Queen Angels, Damsels, Parrotfish, and a Puffer Fish that was upset I guess that we were there. I was told later that these poor guys could only due that so many times before they will die. I guess puff'n up is very stressful to them. Poor guys. During the safety stop, I saw one of the infamous micro jellies. This thing was the size of a quarter and was barely visible in the clear waters. As we were returning back to dock we actually were lucky enough to see a pod of 6 Dolphins swim by. A few of our people put on the masks and snorkels and jumped in to watch them swim by. They didn't want anything to do with us and just kept on swimming south. I got some pix while I stayed on board to experience this awesome site. Very cool. Well that was it for diving.
A few of us did the Tarzan Tour that takes you to the "Other Side" of the island and goes all the way up north along a very nice bumpy dirt road that is only accessible with some good off- road vehicles. After an hour and a half of driving we got to our beach for some nice lunch and a little snorkeling. I was very disappointed that the guide took all these damn tourists out to the reef and he actually stood on the reef and got all the damn rednecks to do the same as he gave his little speech. I was so bummed to watch all the coral being destroyed by these people.
Swimming out was fun for me, but for a couple of these none snorkeling rednecks, they almost met their maker. Good thing one of the guides brought a boogie board for these people to rest on or they would've drowned. I almost got in a fight with one of these country drawl'n rednecks about standing on the reefs. This fat out of shape shitkicker was standing and resting I guess on this reef as I swam by and I asked him if he was all right. He replies, "I'm fine why?"
I said, "Because you're standing on a reef destroying what took many years to build and you're just thrashing it all to hell by tap dancing on it with your fins and sitting on it with your fat ass."
Then he says, "Don't you worry about me...Worry about your darn self."
I reply, "I'm not worried about your redneck ass partner, I'm worried about all the coral you're destroying by standing and walking all over the reef."
All this chap could repeat was, "Don't you worry about me, worry about yourself."
I was getting so angry with this idiot. His kids were right there next to'm, all teenagers, and they didn't say anything. I took a couple of deep breaths and tried to re center myself and just had to get away from'm before I did something that I might regret later.
If you go with Tarzan Tours, please don't follow that dipshit George onto the reef. Please just chill and hang out around the reef and try to appreciate it like it's supposed to be appreciated. I'm sure at one time this reef was very colorful and full of like, but now it's been destroyed and only a few fish are still hanging around and there is only some soft faster growing corals around.
The flight home sucked big time. We made it to Mexico City thinking we had our two and a half-hour layover ahead of us. We noticed that on the flight board that the flight had been delayed to a four-hour delay. We went to the help desk and told us that they weren’t sure what was wrong yet, but the plane had a mechanical problem. Not the thing you want to hear while flying. So while the whole family is standing and sitting around while some of us are trying to find out exactly what was happening they put up that the flight was now delayed to 23:00 hours. That’s 11 p.m. and the present time was just 14:30. What a bad feeling that was. Trapped in Mexico City at the end of your vacation, on your last leg, and now you have to just sit there and wait. We contemplated about getting a hotel there, but then what of our luggage? So we got a hefty 110 pesos shopping spree voucher for the local airport bar and cafeteria. That’s equivalent to about 11 US dollars. We all now how far that goes at an airport. So we sat around and ate personal pizzas that we okay, and some chicken sandwiches. Ended up buying too many Jack and Cokes, and the others had beer and margaritas. By all was said and drank, the bill came to $118 bucks. Boy did I get taken. I should’ve gone to the duty free store and purchased my own 1/5 of Jack and a liter of coke, all for about 14 bucks, and had my own party. Lesson learned though.
Went back to check up on the plane sitch, and found out that they had to get another plane from Tijuana to come down and get us. At least they told us it was on its way and it wasn’t the plane that was having “mechanical problems”.
Plane finally arrives at 23:30 and we’re on the plane at almost 24:00. The airport had turned off its AC by this time and the airport was roasting. It was quite the experience feeling miserable, tired, and baking, all the while staying calm enough not to start going ape shit. The plane ride home was okay. We got our dinners served in the early morning. But had to sit around for almost an hour before they came around to offer drinks. That sucked sitting there parched and not being able to wash down that crappy airplane food. The meat dish I had was nasty and couldn’t even chew the meat. Got the fatty part of the meat and chewing it was like chewing bubble gum.
Finally arrived at LAX which was about 2 a.m. our time. Got home from the ride a little before 3. It was good to finally be home, but at the same time I wish I could’ve stayed longer. Can’t wait to go back or to explore another part of the Caribbean.
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